Potential Cargo Flows and Routing in inland waterways

Summary of INFUTURE Round Table 1

Saimaa has been in operation for 164 years. Today, the largest cargo flows to Saimaa come from Russia, which is the largest trading partner. The next largest and important are the Netherlands, Estonia, Germany and Latvia, which all have active traffic and trade in the Saimaa region. From Saimaa cargo is exported even as far as France and the United Kingdom. Saimaa’s traffic is not year-round and therefore the freight figures are not comparable with seaports.

Russia’s inland waterway network is significant, and its south-eastern part in particular is important to Finland. 120 million tons of cargo passes through the Russian inland waterway system annually, and there are 131 inland ports in the inland waterway network. For comparison, the total volume of cargo in Finland is about 100 million tons.

Within the framework of the INFUTURE project, AMSUMIS has carried out a study on inland waterway traffic and freight flows between Russia and Finland, and based on these analyzes performed, the potential has been identified.

Inland Waterway Fleet
The current fleet operating on inland waterways is very old and there is a need for new vessels. The INFUTURE project has also concentrated on this issue and the new vessel types for new Saimaa are under planning.

The demand is still high for Volgo-DonMax vessels (max length 141,0 m; max width 16,98 m).
In Russia the Project of Marine Engineering Bureau is to build dry cargo river-sea going vessels. Total order book is 60 vessels, of which 27 has already been delivered and 22 is under construction and with option of 11 more vessels. Most of the delivered once are modern river-sea going vessels and there are also two tug barges under constructions.

Unfortunately, these vessels are too big to navigate via Saimaa canal even after the extension of Saimaa Canal lock chambers.

Development of the Inland Waterway System
An important issue is also the investments of the Finnish government about 100 MEUR in the extension of the lock chambers of the Saimaa canal. This will allow larger vessels to pass through the Saimaa canal and with bigger cargo volumes.

In Russia there is also a need to develop the of inland waterway system. Today the guaranteed depth is 3,6 m in the European side of the Russian Federation, but there are two parts where the depth is even lower than that 3,6 m. The Russian government is investing into inland waterway system to grant the depth of 3,6 m everywhere. There is a need to shift cargo from roads and railroads into inland waterways.

The Russian Federation Strategy for inland development is to modernize and expand the main waterway infrastructure by 2024:
– increase of the capacity of domestic seaports by a third
– increase of the throughput of inland waterways
– the development of the Northern Sea Route
– the development of professional education and training

New cargo flows and routes for Saimaa is with high importance for Russia, including action for shifting cargos from roads and railroads into river-sea going vessels. Inland ports development in both countries and their wider connection into trade will foster local development of many aspects, industrial and social etc. Saimaa infrastructural development shall stimulate the replacement of old fleet with new vessels.
The limitations of the navigation period on Saimaa and on the Volgo-Balt is also hindering the smooth waterway operations between Finland and Russia.

Harmonization of Rules and Procedures
There are differences in the legislation of Finland (EU) and Russia on inland water transport and on customs and border procedures which would require some harmonization in order to develop the passage efficiency via Saimaa canal. According to the plans of the Russian Federation, the maritime checkpoint will be located exactly in the middle of the canal, and if we do not start a dialogue on the optimization of customs and border control procedures in advance, there may be problems for shipping with the start of its operation under the existing rules.

Cargo Volumes via Volgo-Balt and White sea-Onega and Saimaa
Cargo to and from Saimaa is almost 1 million tons/year and with domestic transported cargo all together around 2 million tons/year. Where at Volgo-Balt almost 17 million tons of cargo is transported annually
Nowadays the main cargo from Russia to Saimaa is timber: raw wood and wood chips. Fertilizers and chemicals as well as iron scrap, metal/iron pigs and gravel could be potential cargo for this inland route.
The most important regions for wood producers are Karelia, Vologda region and Leningrad region.
Neva Hagen shipping company is the company operating with Saimaa cargo for several years.

Pilot Voyage from Saimaa to Cherepovets
In the frames of INFUTURE project we plan to carry a pilot voyage from Saimaa to Cherepovets with the company Meriaura. For Finnish partners the idea behind this is to be able to estimate how it is to navigate with their own fleet in the Russian inland waterways. At the moment we are looking for a suitable vessel, and the VolgoBalt Administration has promised to help in defining the right size of the vessel for the pilot.

UPM is willing to participate in the INFUTURE pilot project as a cargo provider. It would be a really good addition for the company, if vessels under Finnish flag could enter the Russian inland waterways. Currently, wood is imported using Russian tonnage, and there is a need for more.

Request for Cargo Integrator
Within the framework of the INFUTURE project, a customer survey of Saimaa region stakeholders was conducted. In these discussions the environmental issues came up, and also the role of SMEs in shared cargo transport was underlined. The inland waterways could be also used in some project transports. Reliable cargo integrators with experience in a wide range of cargo and cargo groups in Lake Saimaa area are needed and they could develop new business models.

Saimaa region would need a cargo integrator, a
Currently, there is no container traffic in Saimaa, and very little in Russian rivers. European ports compete for the efficiency of transport chains and how to ensure logistics and make the whole chain competitive. Saimaa’s new dimensions and new vessels would also enable container transport. This possibility should be studied more and there already is a particular interest in special containers.

Safe Navigation
A cost-effective, safe and fast transportation route interests the stakeholders.
XAMK is preparing an analytical simulation model that can be used for simulating navigation in the Saimaa on larger ships in different conditions. At the same time, the utilization of smart devices in navigation can be simulated. Calculations can be made of how long the journey would take by visualizing different situations and repeating them. By analyzing the results, new business can be developed.

Within the framework of the project, there has also been discussion on “transshipment hub” to serve the waterway traffic between Finland and Russia. The digital services play a key role here.
Possibility to assemble complete cargos, book ships and cargo space, real-time information on fairways and ports, descriptions of transport chains and alternative routes – clear offers on competitiveness of waterways.

New business models and a new attitude towards inland waterway transport are needed. Could there be some kind of incentives to support the companies in shifting their cargo into inland waterways and to develop the whole supply chain environmentally friendly.

Lappeenranta, the port of Mustola, is the largest port in the Saimaa region, and has over the years served as a transit port. In addition to the Mustola logistics center, Lappeenranta has a passenger port and a marina, as well as an airport. Mustola has 7 piers and the location is ideal; 10 km from the center and 15 km from the border. Mustola is also significant as a storage area. The Saimaa canal is next door and also has good rail and road connections.

How to further develop Lappeenranta’s Mustola multimodal logistics center and specifically to support better utilization of water transport? How to get industry and trade involved? How to manage the development of the entire transport chain and new service concepts, as well as marketing cooperation and information systems. Would “Port of Saimaa” be the answer to this?
The idea of “Port of Saimaa” is to form a network of active cargo ports in the Saimaa region; Lappeenranta, Joensuu, Kuopio, Savonlinna, Imatra and Varkaus. The “Port of Saimaa” would be presented to the clients and in the market as one big cargo port.

When there is a commercial interest, it is possible to solve most of the organizational and legal problems, including attracting new cargo and issues on shifting cargo from road and rails into waterways.

Continues dialogue and collaborative meetings as such round tables are needed between the stakeholders and administrative authorities.


Heli Koukkula-Texeira, Finnish Waterway Association

Round Table speakers:
Pekka Koskinen, Partner, Brave Logistics Oy
Anatoly Burkov, Admiral Makarov State University for Maritime and Inland Shipping
Esa Korhonen, UPM Metsä
Toomas Lybeck, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Hannu Lappalainen, Lappeenrannan Satama

The Russian RT discussion was held on 22.10.2020 and the Finnish on 26.10.2020

Text originally published in https://www.vesitiet.org/post/potential-cargo-flows-and-routing

Installation and start of practical testing of Finnish buoys

November 10th was a benchmark for Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping (GUMRF) and other partners within the Future Potential of Inland Waterways (INFUTURE) transborder cooperation project.

Thanks to the joint activities of the university and the Administratsiya Volgo-Balt organisation (FBU), the first buoy made by SeaHow by Arctia (Meritaito) Ltd. was installed in the Neva River water area near Schlusselburg.
The event took place as an independent practical experiment, part of the second working package “Inland navigation using advanced technologies and navigation equipment.” The experiment’s goal is to check the usability of the innovative buoys for the year-round operation in the Russian north-west.

The ice testing will be carried out in the Volga-Baltic water area. The installed buoy has an innovative structure that keeps it vertical under the pressure of the current. It also has a double anchor chain fixture. This should keep the buoy vertical despite of river current and ice. If one fixture breaks, then the other should keep the buoy in place. The buoy also has a regulated lamp with an adjustable visibility of two to five miles. More than 25 thousand similar buoys operate in Finland year-round and are not taken out of the water before freeze-up. This saves a substantial amount of resources and the effort of the companies in charge of navigation equipment operation.

Vladimir Karetnikov, head of the Inland Shipping Chair of Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping; Anatoly Burkov, a docent at the GUMRF Water Transport Management Chair and INFUTURE project manager; and Yevgeny Nabatov, Arctic SeaHow Meritatito Ltd. representative in Russia attended the buoy preparation and installation. The Nevsko-Ladozhkyi waterways area navigation department and the Volgo-Balt Administration Federal Budget Company’s installation team led by Sergey Rudykh, the head engineer, performed the installation work. The buoy was prepared and correctly installed according to instructions and took its operational position at the edge of the navigation pass.

Next week, another buoy will be installed in the Ladoga Lake water area. The experiment will continue until navigation begins next year.

Vladimir Karetnikov
Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping
St. Petersburg, Russia


How can we simulate ship performance in level ice reliably and efficiently?

Doctoral candidate Fang Li, M.Sc. (Tech) will defence his thesis on Fri 06.11.2020 at 12:00 PM.
Dissertation is in the field on marine technology and titled as ‘Numerical simulation of ship performance in level ice: evaluation, framework and modelling’

Read full summary about the dissertation and guidance how to participate the on-line event.
Link to Zoomiin: https://aalto.zoom.us/j/66696860489



Kotka Maritime Research Center is seeking a


to play a pivotal role in research coordination and implementation in the KMRC focusing on the above outlined KMRC research topics.

The Research Director will act as a member of the KMRC Executive Board and will work actively with Prof. Pentti Kujala (Aalto University), Prof. Osiris Valdez Banda (Aalto University), Prof. Sakari Kuikka (University of Helsinki), Prof. Tommi Inkinen (University of Turku) and Research Managers Olli-Pekka Brunila and Justiina Halonen (South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Science). Active collaboration with research teams of named universities is necessary.

The successful candidate will work closely with the KMRC research teams to: (i) plan the interdisciplinary research by combining the knowledge and skills of research teams; (ii) identify knowledge gaps and research priorities; (iii) produce competitive and relevant research project applications conducting interdisciplinary research; (iv) write and coordinate joint publications and by this highlight the expertise of KMRC research.

The position is permanent and available as agreed. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. This position is mainly funded through KMRC basic funding.

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Invitation to participate – INFUTURE Round Tables

Operational and Safe Inland Navigation Between Finland and Russia

Most international cargo traffic between Finland and Russia goes on land, via roads and railways. Inland waterway connection from Saimaa to Russian inland waterways could constitute a potential environmentally friendly option for transportation between the countries. ​

Each Round Table includes short introduction to the theme, presentations on findings and time for comments and also for Q & A.

Please note, registration is necessary
Registration here

Doctoral dissertation today

Mirka Laurila-Pant, M.Sc. will defend the doctoral dissertation entitled “When do we attain our objectives? On the role of indicators, values and uncertainty in environmental management” in the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, on 4 September 2020 at 12:00. The public examination will take place at the following address: Biocenter 2, auditorium 1041, Viikinkaari 5.

LIVESTREAM: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/61561004472?pwd=WHpoZVByMGd6eUg0eUVwUDVFc21FQT09

PASSWORD: 929929